That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. — 1 Peter 1:7
The first year of our marriage was, in many ways, a difficult time. After the exhilaration of the engagement, the wedding, and starting a new life together, we came back to earth rather abruptly.
We had been married about two months when we were traveling home from a Thanksgiving vacation with my husband’s parents. Going through the Blue Mountains on the highway, we suddenly hit black ice. Our little Volkswagen “bug” somersaulted through the air, bouncing like a rubber ball. A truck driver who saw the accident thought we had been killed, but God had His hand over us. There were many miracles that happened that night. The biggest — we were alive! The ambulance attendants, however, feared that my husband’s back was broken.
The next few hours, days, and weeks were a time of pain, ambulance and medical bills, loss of our car, time off work, and questions of why. Our faith was tried as Satan mounted an all-out offensive from several directions.
Because of the unexpected bills, we had very little money. We can laugh about it now, but one morning my husband came to breakfast to find the noodles from a can of chicken noodle soup on his plate. For lunch, the broth from the can of soup was in his thermos. At Christmas time, a caring family brought us a “ninety-nine-cent special” Christmas tree, and shared their ornaments; had they not extended this kindness, I am not sure what we would have come up with for decorations.
The trials continued to come. On his birthday in January, my husband’s car was sandwiched in a three-car pileup in the snow. With front and back damage, the old car we had purchased was totaled! Later, when my husband was narrowly missed by another car, he pulled over to the side of the road and just cried.
One evening, after six months of marriage, my husband came running up the stairs from the basement where he had been working on a project with his table saw. He was screaming, “I think I just cut off my finger!” We jumped into the car and raced to the emergency room. There we learned the thumb was almost entirely severed. After emergency surgery, the doctor told me there was only a two-percent chance that the thumb could be saved. After much prayer, and much more time off work, the doctor informed us that my husband would keep his thumb, but it likely would cause him a lot of pain.
Those were great trials for our young marriage — as Peter termed it in our focus verse, they were each a “trial of . . . faith.” However, God was so gracious to us, and we had many reasons to offer “praise and honour” to God as the days went by. God healed what looked to be a serious injury to my husband’s back. God enabled us to pay our bills and purchase another car. My husband’s thumb improved and it has caused him no pain.
As we look back on those hard places now, we see that they were a time when God showed His love to us in a special way. We learned to trust Him more, and we saw that He never did forsake us. That first year of marriage was a time of great faith building, which we now see was more precious than gold!
Today, let us remind ourselves that the trials we face in this life are part of the refining process which prepares us to meet Christ and benefit from the joys of Heaven forever. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!
The Apostle Peter began 1 Peter by identifying himself as the author, indicating who was to receive the letter, and giving a greeting. Verses 3-12 reminded these believers of their hope and inheritance, exhorted them to rejoice and trust God even though they were experiencing fiery trials, and told them they lived in a time anticipated by prophets and angels.
Peter knew that those reading this letter were facing difficult times. They faced opposition from the Jews who did not accept Christ as the Messiah, and they were ostracized, imprisoned, and sometimes martyred for refusing to worship Roman gods and idols. The Apostle reminded these people that they were chosen (elect), and that all three members of the Trinity — God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit — were active in their redemption.
Verse 3 praises God because out of mercy He has “begotten us again,” or given the second birth. Because they are born again, Christians have a “lively hope” (verse 3), an “inheritance” that will not perish (verse 4), and “salvation” (verse 5), meaning eternal life. Christ’s love was shown by His death, and His power to save was shown by His resurrection, causing His followers to have this lively hope.
The inheritance God promises is “incorruptible,” or imperishable. Earthly treasures can crumble, wear out, or be damaged, but the inheritance of the Christian will not decay. This promised inheritance is also “undefiled” (without pollution) and “fadeth not away.” Athletes in New Testament times were given awards that were counted valuable but faded and lost their splendor quickly. In contrast, God’s inheritance will not diminish even slightly.
These promises are for those “who are kept by the power of God.” The Greek word translated kept was a military term and indicated a garrison protecting a city. Peter wanted these believers to have a mental picture of God’s power protecting them as soldiers with the single purpose of defending a city. Knowledge of this protection only comes “through faith” in God’s strength and ability. His final salvation, or eternal life, is “ready to be revealed in the last time.” It is already prepared and will be manifested at God’s appointed time.
In verses 6-9, Peter acknowledged the current situation facing these people. They had many and difficult trials. The Apostle wanted them to understand that their sufferings would prove the validity of their faith. When gold is heated, impurities rise to the surface for removal, and heat also tempers steel. In like manner, Christians are perfected and strengthened by “heated” trials.
Peter was telling these embattled Christians that they were experiencing the grace foretold by the Old Testament prophets. Those prophets and even the angels had longed to know more and to truly understand salvation and its implementation. Christians living after the death and resurrection of Christ know and possess this salvation, which should give them courage to hold on in trials.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Introduction: the author, recipients, and blessing (1:1-2)
II. The character of the believer (1:3-12)
A. The present possessions (1:3-5)
1. Living hope (1:3)
2. Imperishable inheritance (1:4)
3. Preservation (1:5)
B. The present posture (1:6-9)
1. Rejoice in trials (1:6-7)
2. Love and believe God (1:8-9)
C. The present privilege (1:10-12)
1. Prophets sought for it (1:10-11)
2. Angels longed for it (1:12)
Peter told the Christians of Asia Minor that they could greatly rejoice in their salvation, even though they might have many heavy temptations “for a season.” When you are going through the fire of affliction, focus your thoughts on Jesus Christ and you can also “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”